American lesbians and bisexual women like to complain a fair amount about what we see on the tube here in the States. We chatter about how we are or are not represented in the media. We yammer on about people who see us as something less than regular folk with jobs, house payments and families. But we really have it pretty good, all things considered. It could be much worse — like it is for TV viewers in China.
It seems the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which mandates what can and cannot be shown on the state-run airwaves, has banned "vulgar" advertisements for breast enhancements and female undergarments, "tantalizing language" and any show whose name contains a reference to sex, drugs or medical institutions. (Wait — medical institutions? I don’t get it either.) And since when is women’s underwear vulgar? I happen to like women’s underwear, especially on the right woman.
SARFT has also banned "sexually provocative sounds" from broadcast television. Not only can they not show someone actually doing anything resembling any type of sexual activity; now they can’t even broadcast something that sounds like it might possibly be someone enjoying themselves while in the throes of passion. No ooohs, no ahhhs, no mmmms and definitely no yes right theres allowed. Oh, and no grunting either. Houston, we have a problem.
Will the no grunting rule prohibit broadcasting women’s sports? After all, we wouldn’t want their grunts of exertion to be confused with sexual activity.
What about the Olympics in 2008? Will the gymnasts be gagged to prevent the escape of such sounds? What about the softball players? Will they wear extremely large mouth guards to prevent any slips when swinging the bat?
Then there’s the question of scripted programming. Clearly nothing made in the good ol’ U.S. of A. will be allowed to air on Chinese airwaves. You won’t be seeing Bionic Woman in China. I heard far too much grunting last night during the premiere. You can forget about CSI, ER, and Heroes too. And Degrassi has been a successful export for you Canadians, but don’t try and sell it to China. They won’t be buying. Oh, and you Brits will have to keep Bad Girls between us. According to SARFT, "scenes showing how women are influenced into a life of crime are detrimental to society."
Those are just some of the more obvious ones. Here are a few other shows you won’t be seeing in China anytime soon.
No Muppets for you. The innuendo in the exchanges between those two old guys in the balcony is likely enough to get the show banned all on its own. Then throw in Fozzy’s guffaw, which could certainly be mistaken for a sexually provocative sound, and Animal’s drumstick antics, and this show is really in trouble. Plus, we all know that some of the things Miss Piggy has put poor Kermit through over the years are truly criminal.
China has no Sesame Street. You don’t really think they would let Bert and Ernie live together in China, do you? Ernie bathes in front of Bert. They play with a rubber ducky together. Do I really need to say more?
Dora will have to go explore somewhere else. China’s not interested. Seriously, her relationship with that monkey borders on creepy, no?